Harlem Grown Honors The Skyline Charitable Foundation
On Wednesday, October 27, Harlem Grown celebrated its first decade of transforming the community through food justice at the nonprofit’s 10th Anniversary Gala, a virtual event hosted by Cheryl Wills, NY1 News anchor and talk show host.
The honor is accepted by Foundation founder John Kalafatis at Harlem Grown's 10th Anniversary Virtual Gala.
Ms. Wills cheered the organization’s empowering and inspiring work and vowed that “they’re just getting started.” She presented awards to six honorees who have made the phenomenal growth of Harlem Grown possible including The Skyline Charitable Foundation (TSCF) which received The Architect of Impact Award. TSCF founder John Kalafatis accepted the honor on behalf of the Foundation.
Harlem Grown’s stated mission is “to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorships and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.” Launched and created by Harlem Grown CEO and Founder Tony Hillery who saw potential in a vacant lot, the organization now counts a dozen sites in Central Harlem ranging from soil-based farms, hydroponic greenhouses to school gardens. It runs seven programs, all designed to use urban farms as living classrooms for young people and to provide free, locally grown produce for the community. Nicole Engel recently joined as executive director.
TSCF is a proud partner of Harlem Grown. Most recently, Skyline Restoration supported the organization in building the structure for the latest garden situated on the property of the Thurgood Marshall Academy (TMA) Lower School at 282 West 151st Street. SKYlines reported on the June 4th ribbon-cutting ceremony in its Spring 2021 issue #39.
Ms. Wills noted that TSCF is the philanthropic outgrowth of Skyline Restoration, “the leading restoration firm in the New York metropolitan area which has since been a catalyst to forming the largest group of construction companies right here in New York City.”
In a video shown at the event, Mr. Kalafatis pledged his ongoing support of Harlem Grown, both through sponsorship and construction assistance, and attested to the achievement of the nonprofit in bettering the lives of children by enabling them “to seek their potential” while simultaneously enhancing the health and nutrition of the community. He said, “It’s my pleasure to keep assisting [Harlem Grown] within our power and to keep offering our experience.” Harlem Grown is, said Mr. Kalafatis, “of utmost importance.” Noting his personal commitment to youth, he credited Harlem Grown for offering children “experience in the realities of life, not the fakeness of life. [It] gives them something to hold on to, to dream about” and aids in the development of character.
Also featured in a video shown at the event was Shana McCormick, recently installed as executive director of TSCF and program director of RAP4Bronx. She spoke of the ways in which Harlem Grown and RAP4Bronx share a “common mission to combat food insecurity and create generational wealth.” Mr. Kalafatis and Ms. McCormick attended the ribbon-cutting of Thurgood Marshall Academy, an experience he called “eye-opening.”
Ms. Wills, who has witnessed Harlem Grown’s development since 2011 and remembered when it was “a seed in Tony Hillery’s mind” said, “I’m inspired. I’m overwhelmed. This is the epitome of seeing a dream come true.”
10th Anniversary Virtual Gala Awards & Honorees
Corporate Partner of the Decade • Juice Generation • Accepted by Simone Shepard, chief brand officer, and CEO Eric Helms
Vision of Change Award • The Anahata Foundation • Accepted by Mari Arnaud
Community Partner of the Decade • Genesis Companies • Accepted by Genesis founder, Karim Hutson
Architect of Impact Award • The Skyline Charitable Foundation • Accepted by John Kalafatis and Shana McCormick
Roots of Harlem Award • Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson